April 21, 2008

A Faithful Remnant Remains (2)

Isaiah 10:20-25

Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return.
Isaiah 10:22


Isaiah uses the image of fire to describe God’s judgment on evil (see Isaiah 10:17-19). But the prophet also uses that image to describe God’s grace. Israel was called to “walk in the light of the Lord” (2:5). A burning coal was taken from heaven’s altar to cleanse Isaiah for prophetic service (6:6-7). God’s purpose from the beginning has been not merely judgment but blessing. And that blessing is for the spiritual descendants of Abraham everywhere (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:26-29).

Through Jesus’ coming, people of all nations receive the gospel blessings promised to Abraham’s seed (Galatians 3:16). But has God rejected his people Israel? This is Paul’s question in Romans 11:1, and the answer is “No!” While it is true that most of the children of Jacob rejected Immanuel when he came, there was a remnant who believed. And because they followed Jesus, they were exposed to brutal persecution and even death at the hands of their traditional religious leaders.

Christians disagree today over the meaning of certain passages of Scripture about the future of the Jews. But we need to remember that the first members of the early church were Jewish believers and that there remains today a “remnant chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5). What a powerful sign this is, showing that our salvation is by God’s grace from start to finish!

Almighty God, thank you for bringing together as one body Jews and Gentiles through faith in your Son, Immanuel, our Savior, in whose name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Victor Atallah

Rev. Victor Atallah is the broadcast team leader for The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry and the general director of Middle East Reformed Fellowship. These meditations are based on texts of Arabic broadcasts aired a few years ago and an Arabic commentary on the book of Isaiah prepared for publication. Rev. Atallah and his wife, Lisa, live in Larnaca, Cyprus, where The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry is based. The ministry reaches Arabic-speaking people throughout the Middle East and North Africa, introducing them to Jesus Christ, Savior of the nations.

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